In recent weeks, there’s been a rumour doing the rounds that Virgin Australia are considering moving their Bowen Hills Head Office in Brisbane over the river to become housemates with Flight Centre at their 15-storey South Bank Global Mothership.
According to a recent article in The Australian, Virgin Australia ‘may’ have been in talks with Flight Centre about taking up some of the travel company’s Brisbane HQ following the freeing up of space due to COVID-19-related job cuts.
What’s more, the story goes on to say that this could end up being more of a mutually beneficial relationship than just co-sharing the water filters and the legendary slippery slides the building is renowned for.
With the time coming when airlines will need travel agents more than ever as a sales arm (despite what some airlines might say or think), it seems like a smart idea that Virgin Australia and Flight Centre could work together at perhaps ‘more favourable commission’ rates than other airlines will offer the travel group post-COVID-19.
The idea that they could team up would also be a proudly Queensland story of collective innovation post-COVID-19 and also a good look for state government as part of a recovery solution – with some potential additional state funding to boot perhaps?
There is a Queensland state election in October after all and it’d be a big win for the current Palaszczuk government, especially given the rift that blew up between NSW and QLD over where Virgin Australia’s head office should be located during Virgin Australia’s buyout process.
A deal like this would seemingly also be a positive one for Virgin Australia’s new owners Bain Capital as they look to the future and a new era and business model for the airline.
Currently, Virgin Australia also has an office in Sydney which given the present situation and potential Flight Centre move in could mean closing the doors in Sydney for good to further save on the bottom line.
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah is also an ex Flight Centre employee and lives in Brisbane having also worked for Queensland Rail and Tourism Queensland.
The Flight Centre ‘Southpoint’ building located at 275 Grey Street in South Brisbane is owned by Flight Centre Travel Group and opened in October 2016. The 15-storey centre features retail outlets, as well as a Flight Centre, operated gym and rooftop bar and restaurant for employees.
And did we mention the slides?
Currently, one of the floors of the building has become a temporary home for a Centrelink call centre to deal with the new JobSeeker program, staffed by many ex Flight Centre employees who had been stood down or otherwise due to the pandemic.
We’ll be watching this story unfold (or not) with interest.
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